TWENTY ALLEGED MEMBERS AND ASSOCIATES OF COLOMBIA’S LARGEST DRUG CARTEL CHARGED
BOSTON, Mass. - As the result of an international money laundering and drug conspiracy investigation which began in East Boston nearly five years ago, federal law enforcement authorities today unsealed a 16-count indictment, charging 20 individuals and seizing 48 bank accounts across the United States.
According to documents filed in United States District Court in Boston, over the past four years the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Boston Field Division, along with the DEA’s Bogotá, Guatemala, Mexico, Curaçao, and Rome, Italy offices, have investigated the narcotics and money laundering trafficking conglomerate identified as “La Oficina de Envigado,” which is based in Medellín, Colombia, but operates internationally, including in Massachusetts.
Beginning in 2008, DEA conducted undercover money pick-ups in Rome and elsewhere, leading to a lengthy Italian National Police investigation resulting in the seizure of approximately 225 kilograms of cocaine in Rome, and the arrest of 25 individuals in Italy on drug trafficking and money laundering offenses.
DEA and the Internal Revenue Service then initiated an investigation of the financial institutions used by “La Oficina de Envigado” to launder its drug proceeds. On March 18, 2009, a federal Grand Jury in Massachusetts charged Rama K. Vyasulu with money laundering. Vyasulu has pleaded guilty to the charge, and is awaiting sentencing. A federal judge also issued seizure warrants for all 60 bank accounts that Vyasulu controlled at a branch of the Bank of America in Miami, Florida, which resulted in the seizure of more than $151 million.
DEA Boston and Curaçao also investigated the money laundering activities of “La Oficina de Envigado” in Aruba. On April 14, 2010, a federal grand jury in Boston, returned an indictment charging two residents of Aruba, Jorge Ivan Sanchez-Torres and Lupe Aljendra Velez-Ramos, with cocaine trafficking and money laundering offenses. Sanchez-Torres and Velez-Ramos were arrested in Colombia and extradited to Boston, in 2011, where they will remain in custody pending trial.
On May 19, 2011, a federal Grand Jury in Boston, returned an indictment charging 20 individuals from Colombia, Venezuela and Massachusetts with drug trafficking and money laundering offenses. Today, 12 of those individuals were arrested in Colombia, including several high-ranking members of the “La Oficina de Envigado” based in Medellín, Colombia. Extradition proceedings will be instituted following the arrests.
In addition, the following three Massachusetts individuals were arrested today: JULISSA PEREZ, of Malden; HENDERSON MARTINEZ, a.k.a. “Juan,” of Boston; and ROBERTO TORRES-COLON, a.k.a. “Chappa,” believed to be of Lawrence, who are also charged with drug trafficking and money laundering offenses.
Beginning on June 1, 2011, seizure warrants were executed for accounts controlled by some of the defendants that are located in 48 branch banks in New York, NY; Miami, Fla.; and Los Angeles, Calif.
Defendants charged in the conspiracy are:
1. ALDO FERNANDO GUERRERO CLAVIJO, 60, of Colombia
a.k.a. “Carlos Fernando Guerrero C”
2. NELSON ALVARO ARTEAGA-ESPINOZA, 44, of Colombia
3. JUAN CARLOS GOMEZ-PRECIADO, 44, of Colombia
4. ANDRES COVELLI CADAVID, 47, of Colombia
a.k.a. “Don Andres”
a.k.a. “Andres Torres Landines”
5. JOHAN LEONARDO JAUREGUI VARGAS, 37, of Colombia and Venezuela
a.k.a. “Jhojan Jauregui Frias”
6. CARLOS ORLANDO ZAMBRANO-BRICEÑO, 44, of Venezuela
a.k.a. “Ajigbotifa Agunsola”
7. JOSE ALBERTO CARMONA COLMENARES, 37, of Venezuela
8. EDUARDO PABUENCE, of Portugal/Venezuela/Spain
a.k.a. “Eduardo Vene”
9. WILSON ORLANDO SERNA-HOYOS, 38, of Colombia
a.k.a. “El Mono”
10. PEDRO JOSÉ AMADO MONTILLA, 49, of Colombia
a.k.a. “El Viejo”
11. JAIME TORRES-RODRIGUEZ, 34, of Colombia
12. WYLLSYEN MARQUEZ-GOMEZ, 37, of Colombia
13. FREDDY FRANCISCO CAICEDO, 40, of Colombia
a.k.a. “la Salsa”
14. GUILLERMO VILLEGAS-ZULUAGA, 58, of Colombia
15. Unnamed Defendant of San Juan Puerto Rico and U.S.
16. DANIEL OSORIO GARCIA, 43, of Venezuela
17. JULISSA PEREZ, 34, of Malden, Mass.
18. HENDERSON MARTINEZ, 22, of Boston, Mass.
19. Unnamed Defendant, of Jamaica Plain, Mass.
20. RIGOBERTO MURIEL TORRES, 42, of Colombia
a.k.a. “la Erre”
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Boston Field Division; William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston; and Colonel Marian McGovern, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police made the announcement today. The federal cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil J. Gallgher, Jr., in Ortiz’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.
These arrests were made by DEA, IRS, state and local law enforcement agencies, and law enforcement agencies in Bogota and Medellin, Colombia and Rome, Italy. The U.S. Attorney’s Office would like to extend their appreciation to the Dirreccion de Antinarcoticos and the Italian Prosecutor’s Office and the Italian National Police in Rome for their assistance and cooperation.
The details contained in the indictment and complaint affidavit are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.